While COVID-19 cases in Carroll County continue to increase for the fourth week in a row, a county health official is encouraging residents to mask up during the Thanksgiving holiday.
“We’re fortunate this year to have COVID-19 vaccinations to allow us to get together with family and friends more safely,” said Dr. Robert Wack, deputy health officer for the county. “Getting vaccinated or boosted is the most important thing you can do to protect family and friends.”
Since transmission is high in Carroll, he recommended people wear masks indoors in public spaces.
“And if someone you are visiting is older or at high risk, you may want to get tested or wear a mask to reduce their risk. If you have any symptoms, stay home and ask for a meal delivery,” he said.
The county health department reported 254 new COVID-19 cases last week after reporting 221 the week of Nov. 7 and 176 the week of Oct. 31.
Of last week’s cases, eight were reported at congregate facilities, including one Springfield Hospital staff member, three Carroll Lutheran Village staff members, and four small facility cases.
There was one COVID-related facility fatality, a Lorien resident, and one death of a male over the age of 65 last week, according to county health department data.
So far this week, 80 new community cases have been reported.
The county on Tuesday continued to be listed as having high COVID-19 transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
The CDC’s most recent data reported 155.54 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in Carroll for the last seven days that ended Monday. It takes more than 100 cases per 100,000 to be classified as high and at least 50 to be classified as having substantial transmission.
According to the CDC, transmission levels in Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s, Howard, Prince George’s, Montgomery, Somerset and Worcester counties were listed as substantial on Tuesday while the rest of the state, including Baltimore City, remains at high transmission.
Carroll’s testing positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that returned positive results over the past seven days, is at 7.61%, a .01% decrease from 7.62% reported last Tuesday.
The state saw another small increase in its COVID-19 positivity rate this week. Its testing positivity was 3.75% on Tuesday, 3.38% the previous Tuesday, and 3.1% on Nov. 9.
According to the state health department’s website, 585 people were hospitalized in Maryland on Tuesday due to the virus, 77 more than the same time last week. Hospitalizations hit a low of 97 patients on July 2.
In Carroll County, the health department reports there were 12 new hospitalizations last week due to COVID-19.
About 88.3% of Marylanders ages 18 and older have received at least one dose of a vaccine.
Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for children 5 through 11 years of age. The authorization was based on the FDA’s thorough and transparent evaluation of the data that included input from independent advisory committee experts who overwhelmingly voted in favor of making the vaccine available to children in this age group, according to the agency’s website.
To register children for the vaccine, go to cchd.maryland.gov/covid-19-vaccination-for-children. On the site, users can click on the date they want to attend and fill out the digital form. Here are the clinic dates:
- Dec. 15 at Manchester Volunteer Fire Department Social Hall from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The second dose is Jan. 5.
- Dec. 16 at Winfield Volunteer Fire Department Social Hall from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The second dose is Jan. 6.
According to the county health department’s data, about 64% of eligible Carroll County residents have been fully vaccinated and 67.2% received at least one dose of a vaccine.
The health department strongly encourages anyone who is not yet fully vaccinated to get their first or second vaccine at one of the department’s clinics, which are held from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays.
People can preregister at cchd.maryland.gov/registration-links or walk into the health department, at 290 S. Center St. in Westminster. People coming for second doses should bring their vaccine cards.
Several Moderna booster shot clinics for eligible residents have been hosted by the health department over the last several weeks. The booster is half the dose of the primary series dose and is administered at least six months after the second Moderna vaccine, according to the department’s release.
A Moderna booster shot clinic is scheduled at the Winfield VFD Social Hall on Dec. 2 from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
To register for the clinic, go to cchd.maryland.gov/covid-19-booster-shots.
People who need a Pfizer booster can register for one of the health department’s regular clinics on the COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Registration page, according to a news release.
Those who received a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine two or more months ago can receive a Johnson & Johnson booster shot at the health department’s regular weekly clinics on the COVID-19 Registration page.
Eligible recipients can also mix and match their booster shots, the release states.
The health department continues to administer third doses of vaccine for those who are immunocompromised.